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Checks and balances are an integral part of America's democracy. They are designed to keep any one branch of government from becoming too powerful. Each of the three branches of government have different ways in which they can check another branch to keep the system in balance.
The legislative branch, or the Congress of the United States, can keep the executive branch, or the president, in check by overriding vetoes with a two-thirds vote, and can remove the president through the impeachment process. Presidential appointments also must be approved by the Senate.
The legislative branch can also keep the judicial branch in check by being able to remove judges through impeachment, as well as approving the appointment of judges.
The executive branch, or the president, can keep the legislative branch in check through being able to veto bills and acts that are voted on in Congress (which Congress can override with a two-thirds vote), and can appeal to the people regarding legislation and recommend legislation to Congress. He or she can also call special sessions of Congress to decide certain matters.
The executive branch appoints the Supreme Court judges as well as other federal judges.
The judicial branch can rule both executive actions and legislative acts to be unconstitutional through the power of judicial review.
These different checks and balances keeps America a democracy because each branch of government keeps the others from becoming tyrannical. Members of Congress can be voted out by the people as well, and the legislative impeachment power makes it possible for the president and judges to be voted out as well.
Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Jan 8th, 2016
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